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Is it abuse?
August 30, 2005
10:45 am
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cajungoddess
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I need help with something. My live in boyfriend and I fight a lot. Mostly because I have no job and he does, and says that he isn't responsible for me and my 6yr old son, so often he leaves me with no money nor gas to take my son to school. Verbally he can be quite cruel. Our fights esculates to where he calls me nasty names, I blow up, he will push me, or I slap him, then the fights seem to go from there. He nevers seems remorseful for what he does. I know that it just tears me up inside to fight with him like that. He always seems to reassure me that I have no one in this world to help me but him. I don't know what to do. I love him, he has asked me to marry him, but everytime he gets mad at me, he says that he doesn't love me, nor will ever marry me. Then after the fight, he says he just says that cause he was angry. I need some advice...true real advice, not anger or anything..is he the abusive type? I mean, I hit him too? HELP

August 30, 2005
10:52 am
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Regret
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cajungoddess,

Yes he is abusive and I am afraid you are too although I am quick to say that your abuse seems to be more of a reaction. However, I will leave that aspect of your post to more qualified people in that area.

I just want to point out to you that no matter where you are in life, YOU CAN HELP YOURSELF (use of caps is not yelling at you ok?) In your post, you mentioned times that he leaves you without money and gas so although you are together, he doesn't seem to be of much help either. What kind of qualification do you have? Why aren't you working right now? Is there something you can do to get you back in the job market?

Perhaps answers to the questions I have raised will help me offer better advice to you.

Best Wishes,
Reg

August 30, 2005
11:00 am
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glittered when he walked
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Since you asked, yes it appears abusive. It's not OK to hit and call names. It's not OK to be emotionally abusive.

Getting angry is fine..we must all deal with anger - But in a healthy way. The healthy way of dealing with anger is express how you feel without laying blame or name calling or manipulating. for example, instread of calling you names he could instead say 'I'm angry at you because when I come home this house is a wreck." that's just an example, not accusing you of being a poor housekeeper.

Hitting, name calling, emotional manipulation is NOT a healthy way to process anger.

If we tolerate this abuse, we are enabling it to occur again. When my stbx gets abusive with me.. i warn her with "you're being abusive by calling me names and if it doesn't stop, this conversation is over." abuse doesn't solve problems, it creates new ones.

I understand with a child it may be very hard for you to just rtemove yourself from the situation, but I think you should. Don't initiate a cycle of physical violence. Defend yourself if you have to, but remember it's better to remove yourself from these situations first if you can help it. Other women on this board will be very helpful in getting out. as a guy, i feel terrible for women who have difficulty in getting out of abusive relationships because of $ issues. as a guy I have the comfort of knowing I can just walk out and be OK. But you can be OK too, it just might be alittle harder at first. what the price of peace of mind?

One last item..you love him..ok. But what needs of yours are being fulfilled? How is this relationship good for you? Is it good for you? we don't chosse who we fall in love with, but we can choose who we will live with. choose wisely, act accordingly. ; )

August 30, 2005
11:03 am
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Anonymous
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yes, this is abuse - or at the very least, unhealthy.

he appears to be using the money issue to control you and make you feel bad about yourself.

I suggest you find a way to make money. there are plenty of work at home ideas, as well as part time jobs - not sure why you don't work - so can only give more suggestions once I know wh you haven't worked to date.

he is verbally abusive, he hits you, or provokes you to hit him and then tells you that you have nowhere to go cuz he is the only one that will take care of you - THAT's NOT TRUE!!!! - you are capable - and you need to learn to stand on your own two feet and learn to love yourself so he can't make you feel worthless. he is using money to control you, and he is abusing you by telling you that you are "stuck" with him - and he verbally abuses you and hits you - you need to take steps to make yourself better and get out - the last thing you want is to raise a son who thinks it's okay to hit a woman because the woman hits back!!!!

why can't your son take a school bus?

do you have a battered women's shelter in your area or nearest metropolitan area? they deal in all kinds of abuse, not just the black eye type - and they can help you get back on your feet and into counseling and housing and such.

the simple answer to the simple question you ask - and not said in anger or anything - is yes, this is abuse.

August 30, 2005
11:13 am
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Worried_Dad
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Well, I see behaviors that I call "abuse with a little 'a'" from both of you here.

The question is : Is this an "abusive relationship?"

His expectation that you would work and bring some money home is probably a reasonable expectation.

Your expectation that he would feel some responsibility toward supporting you and your son is probably a reasonable one.

You two can't really get married until you have some clear understandings and agreements about the nature of partnership and the form that will take for you.

In the meantime, each of you needs to really take personal responsibility for not letting your arguments get out of hand. There is such a thing as "fighting fair." Name calling and saying you don't love someone is not fair.

Physical violence is definitely not fair. You, as a mother, need to be especially careful not to let yourself be lured into physical violence. Society frowns on violent parents.

Sometimes victims of emotional abuse will lash out physically--that is not acceptable but it is not uncommon either.

Each of you needs to promise that physical violence will never be a feature of your realtionship.

Try to learn to "stop action" and decide if the anger each of you feels during an argument is really justified. Figure out if one of you is angry because of unreasonable expectations or demands. Find out if someone is angry because the other one wants them to meet reasonable expectations.

Try to learn to "fight fair." Conflict does not have to be ugly or uncivilized, or even un-loving.

If you want to be partners you each have a lot of work to do--it sounds like your realtionship is crippled by a lot of immature emotionality right now, and you will probably need some professional help to get past that.

August 30, 2005
11:17 am
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readyforachange
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Yes, it is abuse. Many types of abuse going on here...physical, psychological, emtoional. He is drawing you into his pattern of abuse, and you are reacting just the way he wants you to.

I don't want to say too much more, but there are always alternatives to your present situation. I don't know much about your situation, so I hate to tell you what to do. But this does not sound healthy for you or your child. You always have choices, just remember that.

August 30, 2005
3:23 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Still though, we need more information before we can discern whether this is a case of two people who are unkind to each other sometimes or an actual "abusive relationship." And so far, cajungoddess is the one doing the hitting.

The thing to do is find out if the "fights" are actually over substantiative issues or whether they are part of an abusive pattern.

alicat, you wrote: "he hits you, or provokes you to hit him and then tells you that you have nowhere to go cuz he is the only one that will take care of you"

I didn't read any of that in cajungoddess' post.

And there is no justifiable provocation for hitting except self-defense.

August 30, 2005
4:12 pm
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glittered when he walked
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WD,

This sentence from CG's post indicates a violence issue on both of their parts:

"Our fights esculates to where he calls me nasty names, I blow up, he will push me, or I slap him, then the fights seem to go from there."

as far as being unkind or an abusive relationship..well what do you mean by that?

I'm of the opinion that no abuse of any kind should be tolerated.

August 30, 2005
4:25 pm
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Anonymous
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""""""Our fights esculates to where he calls me nasty names, I blow up, he will push me, or I slap him, then the fights seem to go from there. He nevers seems remorseful for what he does. I know that it just tears me up inside to fight with him like that. He always seems to reassure me that I have no one in this world to help me but him."""""""

this is where I base my thought from - obviously there is provoking going on, from both sides - and the last statement clearly states that he is the only one gonna take care of her.

August 30, 2005
4:29 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Glittered,

Many people are unskilled in handling conflict and the emotions that come with conflict. Many people will yell or call names during arguments. Sometimes you will see couples where both people resort to physical violence.

Abusive behaviors are abusive, period. When those behaviors occur occasionally or are committed by both partners, I think of that as “abuse-lite” or abuse with a little “a.”

Many couples find themselves being occasionally unkind to one another. One statistic I read said that about 45% of 911 domestic violence calls end with the police discovering a situation where mutual combat is happening.

An abusive relationship is where: one partner has a model of respect, mutuality, compassion and trust—a model of authentic personal power. The other partner has an orientation of “power-over.” Normal couples have conflict about many issues, and usually figure out how to use reasoned argument, negotiation, compromise, taking turns, etc. as ways of resolving conflict.

An abuser will resort to any and all methods to get their way. In an abusive relationship, the ostensible issue of conflict is usually not really what the conflict is about. Pain in abusive relationships happens because one person uses controlling tactics to get their way no matter what.

In an abusive relationship it is possible to assign the roles “victim” and “abuse.” You can’t unambiguously assign those roles in a relationship that merely has both people being unkind to each other.

August 30, 2005
4:48 pm
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glittered when he walked
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WD,

thanks for your clarification and I like the definition of abuse-lite.

I think the most important thing here is that CG inquired if the behaviors she described were abusive. And I think we're all in agreement that the behaviors are abusive and should not be performed or tolerated. rather they should be discouraged.

August 30, 2005
4:52 pm
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Anonymous
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abuse in any form - even lite - needs addressing - I think WD was just trying to make it clear that sometimes we can worry less that this is a serious pattern of ingrained behaviour and more a pattern brought on by two people who don't know how to communicate - I think WD thinks it can be fixed instead of thinking it's a purely abusive deal where she should fear for her life and leave.

hope I got that right!

August 30, 2005
5:40 pm
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glittered when he walked
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ali,

that's my understanding too. i don't think she should necessarily fear for her life (we don't know enough), but if the abuse doesn't get acknowledged and then cease/abate - I would reccommend leaving.

August 30, 2005
6:01 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Yes abuse needs to be addressed--and we are hearing about "abuse" being committed by BOTH the man and the woman here, and both of their behaviors needs to be addressed.

That is why I am trying to discern if it is an abusive relationship.

If it is an abusive relationship, and the man is the abuser, then cajungoddess is being victimized even if she has slapped him.

If it is "merely" mutual unkindness, that calls for a different approach than for working with an abusive personality.

August 30, 2005
8:07 pm
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emerald2
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Warning Signs of Abusive Relationships

You may be in an abusive relationship if he or she:
1. Is jealous or possessive toward you.
2. Tries to control you by being very bossy or demanding.
3. Tries to isolate you by demanding you cut off social contacts, friendships and family.
4. Is violent and / or loses her temper quickly.
5. Pressures you sexually, demands sexual activities you are not comfortable with.
6. Abuses drugs or alcohol.
7. Claims you are responsible for her emotional state. (This is a core diagnostic criteria for Codependency.)
8. Blames you when she mistreats you.
9. Has a history of bad relationships.
10. Your family and friends have warned you about the person or told you that they are concerned for your safety or emotional well being.
11. You frequently worry about how she will react to things you say or do.
12. Makes "jokes" that shame, humiliate, demean or embarrass you, weather privately or around family and friends.
13. Your partner grew up witnessing an abusive parental relationship, and/or was abused as a child.
14. Your partner "rages" when they feel hurt, shame, fear or loss of control.
15. Both parties in abusive relationships may develop or progress in drug or alcohol dependence in a (dysfunctional) attempt to cope with the pain.
16. You leave and then return to your partner repeatedly, against the advice of your friends, family and loved ones.
17. You have trouble ending the relationship, even though you know inside it's the right thing to do.

Does the person you love...

• constantly keep track of your time?
• act jealous and possessive?
• accuse you of being unfaithful or flirting?
• discourage your relationships with friends and family?
• prevent or discourage you from working, interacting with friends?
• constantly criticize or belittle you?
• control all finances and force you to account for what you spend?
• humiliate you in front of others? (Including "jokes" at your expense.)
• destroy or take your personal property or sentimental items?
• have affairs?
• threaten to hurt you, your children or pets? Threaten to use a weapon?
• push, hit, slap, punch, kick, or bite you or your children?
• force you to have sex against your will, or demand sexual acts you are uncomfortable with?

September 7, 2005
4:01 pm
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cajungoddess
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I want to say thank you to all of you who have responded to my question. Yes, I can be somewhat abusive as well. I do realize however, that I need counseling just as he does, although his reactions is complete denial. I don't work because he wont allow it, he states I want to work in order to meet another man. I reassure him every day that I love him. It is hard to say this, but actually I am a substance abuse counselor. Funny HUH!! I can counsel others, but is hard for me to counsel myself. I want to rejoin the work force. Jobs where I am are hard to come by. This Friday night, he slapped me and hit me with his fist for the first time on his own, meaning without me provoking it, so some of you think. How do you keep from slapping someone or yelling back at someone when they are in your face telling you how sorry you are and that you are worthless and just plain lazy. I clean house, cook and do the things that I know that is pleasing to him, just doesn't seem to be enough though. I guess I should not bad mouth him, I am no angel either. I know how to push his buttons as well. When he isn't angry, he can be the most loving man in the world. Yet, like this morning, he woke up in a bad mood and wouldn't even tell me goodbye, nor will he answer his cell phone. He tells me that it doesn't bother him if I never call him and leave him a message on his cell, which I do all the time..so to test the theory, I didn't call him yesterday at all to leave him a message...he comes home accusing me of hiding something from him, or cheating on him.????? just seems I can't figure him out or figure out how to make him happy anymore. I want you all to know that I appreciate your concern and your thoughts. Thank you...I have decided to go to counseling and to make a better life for my son as well. I am seeking counseling for the both of us. I will continue in the relationship, for I love this man, but I pray every day that God will show him that I truly do love him and he will realize that I would never cheat on him or hurt him in anyway. Thank you all.....cajun

September 7, 2005
4:06 pm
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best wishes to you.

counseling is an important first step - say with it no matter how uncomfortable it makes you - as a counselor you know that it very well might end up making you feel uncomfortable and maybe changing your thoughts on staying with him.

go anyway.

and good luck.

September 7, 2005
4:19 pm
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jamaicanwife
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You sound very intelligent and your training should tell you where this is going. You say wou will stay because you love him - but is this relationship what you want your son to have as his template for his own relationships? Do you want to see him end up in raging battles with his future girlfriend, and future wife, getting slapped, punching them? Because that is what you are preparing him for.

September 7, 2005
10:53 pm
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StronginHim77
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OK. Time to get some support and encouragement, so you can come out of denial and leave what is an unhealthy, abusive relationship. You know that this abuse will only escalate. It will NEVER get better.

Check out this website on identifying the various types of partner abuse:

http://www.bloomington.in.us/~.....lities.htm

September 8, 2005
11:13 am
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Worried_Dad
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cajungoddess,

You said:

1) I don't work because he wont allow it

2) he states I want to work in order to meet another man.

3)he comes home accusing me of hiding something from him, or cheating on him...

4) someone when they are in your face telling you how sorry you are and that you are worthless and just plain lazy.

5)This Friday night, he slapped me and hit me with his fist....

OK, now I have enough information for a diagnosis. More than enough information. Just # 1-4 does it. Or # 5 by itself does it for me.

Listen to me carefully: No one "provokes" someone into hitting them.

Yes, you have reported slapping the man--and you need to avoid hitting except in self defense. But that violence from you is taking place in the context of an ABUSIVE REALTIONSHIP.

September 8, 2005
11:21 am
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cajungoddess,

You are in an abusive relationship.

There are two roles here: Victim and Abuser. Period.

This man is very controlling, very sick, and you are being harmed by this relationship. You really are.

His insane jealousy is a classic sign and is abusive in and of itself. Just his jealousy alone can destroy you.

The fact that no matter how hard you try nothing is "good enough" is a form of severe abuse--and is also a sign of things to come.

Not letting you work is a HUGE problem--it is his way of isolating you from social support and also disempowering you so that you don't have economic resources. Money is necessary to live--it is a metaphor for life and death. By controlling you financially, he has the total control of your life.

This man is not a good, healthy, decent man. He is not loving you. It is very unlikely that he even has real feelings for you.

You are in danger and you need to get professional help now. Really, really start thinking about getting out.

September 8, 2005
12:07 pm
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jamaicanwife
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My father was like that, almost exactly, now that I think about it, and after 20 years when my mother had finally had enough and started making plans to leave him, he locked her out of their bedroom. She only got the clothes on her back.

Until the divorce was finalized, my mother took the bus, took taxis, bummed rides from friends while my father drove whichever of the 4 cars he owned - I thought. Afterwards, when the court ordered him to turn over 2 of them to my mother, I figured it out - he had taken the cars she had bought with her own money and replaced them with gift cars so that she would have nothing of her own. He used to take the keys away from her when he was mad at her, all the while knowing that she owned 2 of the cars parked in his garage.

And he did not keep these 2 cars at home - the were behind a locked gate at his office.

Forgive me for rambling, but my understanding of my parents relationship is only coming to me now as an adult. I see so much of my mother in you, always trying to keep the peace, urging us as children not to upset our father, and always, always staying in the marriage.

It hurt me more than I can ever express to watch his treatment of her, and she never quite grasped the cruelty of his treatment of us because she was so caught up in her own drama. I often wished the scales would be lifted from her eyes so she could see what was going on, but she never seemed to notice. I actually still resent her even now, because she was not available to rescue me when I needed her help.

Step into your son's shoes for a minute - what does he see when he looks at your life?

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